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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Morning Blessings as Evolution

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This morning I davened away as typical, only something caught my eye. We've just come off Evolution Shabbat and my shul was one of a few hundred around the country celebrating the radical idea that science devoid of a spiritual nature and the spiritual individual devoid of science are somewhat incomplete. 

I was starting into the morning blessings, packetised blessings recited each day as part of the preparatory rituals leading to Shacharit the formal morning blessings. My mind drifted to an old Core class when I was doing my schooling where we spoke of a literary style called a crot. To compose in crots was to work in a fragmented style composing sections without employing transitions between them. Crots force you to make logical leaps, you know the sections must be related, and so they are crafted to subtly steer your mind as you read them towards a thought. Thank you Dr. Cook, may your memory always be as a blessing. 

This is from the Open Siddur Project and you'll no doubt recognize it as a liberal version, the Orthodox men still thank god for not making them women, slaves or gentiles. I'm not here to debate that controversy but try and illustrate a possibility that came to me this morning, what if it's a time line in disguise:  


The Creation:



כָּל בְּרָכוֹת נוֹבְעוֹת מִן יָהּ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ, חֵי הָעוֹלָמִים,‏
אֲשֶׁר נָתַן לַשֶּׂכְוִי בִינָה לְהַבְחִין בֵּין יוֹם וּבֵין לָיְלָה.‏
All blessings flow from Yah, our God, life of the worlds,
who has given the rooster understanding to distinguish day from night.


Abraham


כָּל בְּרָכוֹת נוֹבְעוֹת מִן יָהּ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ, חֵי הָעוֹלָמִים,‏
שֶׁעָשַׂנִי בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים.‏

All blessings flow from Yah, our God, life of the worlds,
who has made me in the image of God.






Settling in Cannan


כָּל בְּרָכוֹת נוֹבְעוֹת מִן יָהּ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ, חֵי הָעוֹלָמִים,‏
שֶׁעָשַׂנִי בָּת|בֶּן חוֹרִין.‏







Jakob is made a Nation


All blessings flow from Yah, our God, life of the worlds,
who has made me to be free.



כָּל בְּרָכוֹת נוֹבְעוֹת מִן יָהּ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ, חֵי הָעוֹלָמִים,‏
שֶׁעָשַׂנִי יִשְׂרָאֵל.



All blessings flow from Yah, our God, life of the worlds,
who has made me a Jew.
Joseph's Dreams
כָּל בְּרָכוֹת נוֹבְעוֹת מִן יָהּ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ, חֵי הָעוֹלָמִים,‏
פּוֹקַחַת עִוְרִים.‏


Food  and safety in Egypt
All blessings flow from Yah, our God, life of the worlds,
who opens the eyes of the blind.

כָּל בְּרָכוֹת נוֹבְעוֹת מִן יָהּ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ, חֵי הָעוֹלָמִים,‏
מַלְבִּישָׁה עֲרֻמִּים.‏



Fight with Pharaoh
All blessings flow from Yah, our God, life of the worlds,
who clothes the naked.

כָּל בְּרָכוֹת נוֹבְעוֹת מִן יָהּ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ, חֵי הָעוֹלָמִים,‏
מַתִּירָה אֲסוּרִים.‏



Exodus from Egypt

All blessings flow from Yah, our God, life of the worlds,
who releases the bound.

כָּל בְּרָכוֹת נוֹבְעוֹת מִן יָהּ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ, חֵי הָעוֹלָמִים,‏
זוֹקֶפֶת כְּפוּפִים.‏

Moving into the wilderness
All blessings flow from Yah, our God, life of the worlds,
who lifts up the bent.

כָּל בְּרָכוֹת נוֹבְעוֹת מִן יָהּ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ, חֵי הָעוֹלָמִים,‏
רוֹקַעַת הָאָרֶץ עַל הַמָּיִם.‏

The Miriam's Well
All blessings flow from Yah, our God, life of the worlds,
who spreads out the land upon the waters.

כָּל בְּרָכוֹת נוֹבְעוֹת מִן יָהּ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ, חֵי הָעוֹלָמִים,‏
שֶׁעָשָׂה לִּי כָּל צָרְכִּי.‏

Mt. Sinai
All blessings flow from Yah, our God, life of the worlds,
who provides for all of my needs.

כָּל בְּרָכוֹת נוֹבְעוֹת מִן יָהּ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ, חֵי הָעוֹלָמִים,‏
הַמֵּכִין מִצְעָדַי.‏

Battles in the Midbar
All blessings flow from Yah, our God, life of the worlds,
who guides my steps.

כָּל בְּרָכוֹת נוֹבְעוֹת מִן יָהּ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ, חֵי הָעוֹלָמִים,‏
אוֹזֵר יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּגְבוּרָה.‏

Reaching the Jordan
All blessings flow from Yah, our God, life of the worlds,
who girds Israel with strength.

כָּל בְּרָכוֹת נוֹבְעוֹת מִן יָהּ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ, חֵי הָעוֹלָמִים,‏
עוֹטֵר יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּתִפְאָרָה.‏

 Joshua
All blessings flow from Yah, our God, life of the worlds,
who crowns Israel with splendor.

כָּל בְּרָכוֹת נוֹבְעוֹת מִן יָהּ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ, חֵי הָעוֹלָמִים,‏
הַנּוֹתֶנֶת לַיָּעֵף כֹּחַ.‏

Entrance into the Promised Land
All blessings flow from Yah, our God, life of the worlds,
who gives strength to the weary.

כָּל בְּרָכוֹת נוֹבְעוֹת מִן יָהּ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ, חֵי הָעוֹלָמִים,‏
הַמַּעֲבִירָה שֵׁנָה מֵעֵינַי וּתְנוּמָה מֵעַפְעַפָּי.‏
All blessings flow from Yah, our God, life of the worlds,
who removes sleep from my eyes, slumber from my eyelids.

  

These are just my ideas, things that came to me when I was making the blessings this morning. I don't pretend to know that this section of the sidur has other meaning than exactly what it reads. I think meaning in prayer is supposed to be transitory. What we have inherited is what worked for people in the past, it worked to let them feel connected and so we maintain the words with subtle changes hoping to be influenced in a positive way too. 

Coming off a Shabbat on evolution I saw the evolution of the people in this section of prayer, like a haftarah. Something that reminded me of part of Torah as I read. 

I don't know if my mind will keep returning to this idea as I re-read the words in the future. Today however it felt as though I had a change to grow a little and change a little and evolve my thought a little.

 Unshackle yourself and see where it can take you. See a new world every morning.  


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